Page 4 THE VILLADOM TIMES II • July 29, 2009 Area Fundraising drive aids teens aging out of foster care Most teens’ eighteenth birthday is an exciting milestone. They will be graduating from high school, enjoying summer trips, and counting the days until they leave for college. But for adolescents in foster care, this time in their lives is often filled with anxiety. Once they reach their eighteenth birthday, they face the prospect of “aging out” of foster care and moving on to independent living with little or no family help and few support services available. Children’s Aid and Family Services has launched a fundraising drive on behalf of its Thomas R.S. Burgin Parents Fund aimed at supporting college-bound teens who have aged out of foster care. The Redlich Horwitz Foundation, a New York and New Jersey-based non-profit organization, will match the first $20,000 raised by the agency. Although teens in foster care in the State of New Jersey are eligible for subsidized tuition, room and board, they have no other means of financial assistance to fund clothing, toiletries or other living expenses, including rent during vacation time. The Thomas R.S. Burgin Parents Fund also provides financial assistance to former foster care teenagers; the awards are tailored to meet the individual needs of the applicants. Examples include assistance with car repairs, a loan to cover the deposit for an apartment rental or to purchase a suit for a job interview. “The transition to college and adulthood is difficult for most adolescents, even those who have the emotional and financial support of their parents,” said Bob Jones, Ph.D., president & CEO of Children’s Aid and Family Services. “The children in our care face huge challenges as they enter adulthood, and it can take very little for their lives to unravel. The financial assistance from the Thomas R.S. Burgin Parents Fund gives them the ability to focus on their studies without the additional pressure of having to support themselves. And an education will give them a solid foundation and a greater chance for success and self-sufficiency.” Children’s Aid and Family Services has a successful track record in preparing its teens for the future. This year, 100 percent of the teens in the agency’s care graduated from high school, and the agency continues to provide critical services, including counseling and mentoring, for the adolescents after they age out of foster care. To make a donation to the Thomas R.S. Burgin Parents Fund, call Madinah Grier at (201) 261-2800 or visit www. Children’s Aid and Family Services is one of the leading nonprofit human services organizations serving northern New Jersey. The agency is fully accredited and has served the community for more than 100 years. Its mission is to preserve, protect and, when needed, provide families. 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